Single Serve Boosted Overnight Oats

Hey Guys

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here! My life and routine has sort of spun 360 in the last 3 months, which has been exciting, and a little challenging. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen or read about my new position which I’ll mention quickly here and then dive into todays recipe! Back in March I accepted the role has the Head Chef for Natures Emporium, out in Burlington. I was looking for something completely different and a new challenge, so coming across this opportunity had come at the perfect time. Needless to say, my personal time outside of work has been very important to me, and I’m now finally adjusting to my schedule and time off so here we are!

Speaking of new routines and schedule changes, I’ve been more tired and some days feeling a little more run down then others. In the beginning it was really hard to keep my diet and training on track however now that I’ve gotten a better handle on things and have been able to tap into my nutritionist brain a little more I have been better prepared with more nutrients to fuel my body with.

Recently I’ve jumped back on the overnight oats train, something I don’t think I’ve had in a couple years. I was getting really tired of eggs, and actually probably over consuming them as a “convenience” food so I decided to switch things up!

I’m going to chat about soaking oats and keeping them raw, in a different way and shed some light on the other amazing superfood in this recipe (Collagen Hydrolysate) and why they work well together.

Now for those dealing with issues sleeping: falling a sleeping or staying asleep, consuming RAW oats may be a good choice for you to consume. Over are the days of egg whites and oatmeal, a nutrient void combination that can people get over already?!

Oats contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is needed for general growth and development. L-tryptophan which converted to 5-HTP in the brain. 5-HTP in turn is converted to serotonin (your relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin. However what’s cool to note is that eating oats won’t make you drowsy, rather this conversion happens throughout the day so eating them at breakfast can actually help you with your evening sleep routine!

High tryptophan foods (that do not cause drowsiness) include nuts, seeds, organic tofu, high quality cheese cheese, red meat (preferably grass fed), high wellfare chicken, sustainable fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs when eaten in moderation and the correct portion, sorry not a 10oz steak.

In particular, the recipe I’m sharing today is actually extra special because I’ve added some Collagen Hydrolysate to help boost the protein and aid in the L-Tryptophan conversion.

Now collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, it’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It’s what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. It’s really this super glue that is holding our body together, keeping our joints, tendons and skin stronger. Which is why, as we age, collagen starts to decrease and we see thing like wrinkles, loose skin, joint and body pain. So consuming collagen rich foods, acts as a preventative treatment protecting our body!

The reason I’m using Collagen Hydrolysate is because it actually does not Gel, allowing you to mix it into virtually anything without changing the consistency, texture or flavour. Both tradition Collagen Gelatin and Collagen Hydrolysate have the same amino acid profile, they are just suited for different purposes. Some of the radical benefits of this superfood include: improves skin, strengthens hair, teeth and nails, repairs our joints, strengths our GI lining to aid with leaky gut, boosts metabolism, improves the appearance of stretch marks and can gently help you detox.

2 Tbsp of Collagen Hydrolysate = 11 grams of protein that’s completely absorbable and can be utilized by the body with ease.

The reason I’ve paired this with my oats, other then an additional protein boost, is that gelatin will slow down L-tryptophan release. As well, pairing this carb with Collagen Hydrolysate allows for a slower release of glucose into the body and slower blood glucose effect – carb win! Especially for us gals with hormone issues.

There are these hidden little tricks that we can do to boost nutrient value and in fact change the way they are absorbed and utilized by the body and I’m happy to be back to share this with you all.

Simple Boosted Overnight Oats For One
Yields 1 serving
{Gluten Free, Vegan}

INGRIEDENTS
1/3 cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
1 Tbsp Collagen Hydrolysate (I used Great Lakes)
¾ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 ½ Tbsp Chia Seeds
Toppings:
Berries
Cashew Butter (or any nut butter)
Berries
Coconut Kefir (Optional)
Maca Powder (Optional)

METHOD

  1. Keep this simple, with no clean up by using a mason jar. Place the oats, cacao nibs, collagen, almond milk and chia seeds in your mason jar, close the lid and shake. This is where you let out your daily stress and shake vigorously for 1 minute.
  2. Pop it in the fridge overnight.
  3. In the morning, top with some berries, a dollop of cashew butter, kefir and a sprinkle of maca. Close the lid and take it with you or eat right out of the jar. No mess, no fuss!
  4. That was the hardest recipe you might ever have to follow….

NOTES:
– I chose to plate it up nicely, however you can 100% follow the method I gave for the mason jar and it will be just as good – just faster and more convenient !

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone, I’ll be back next week with an amazing hormone supportive beverage that will be your favourite way to start the day!

– Chef Steph

Sautéed Beet Greens with Roasted Grapes

Hey Guys!

Ya I get it, this post is 5 days late – honestly I got hit with a 5 day sinus infection and I couldn’t even look at my computer screen to type this properly. This has been a weird 7 days overall for me: between the ice storm, then snow storm, this sinus infection which has been pure joy and I think I’m dealing with a bit of adrenal fatigue. Once you suffered from extreme adrenal fatigue, you automatically know the signs of when it starts creeping back in! So maybe getting sick was a good thing and the universe making me slow down, as I actually slept, rested and look a solid 7 days off from the gym. When I’m sick I tend to eat more carbs daily, which also has been really helpful with my recovery!

Now that I’m on the mend the recipe I’m sharing today is great for 2 main reasons; #1 – It’s so simple and #2 – It shows you how to amplify a simple recipe with one simple ingredient. I think when people are trying to cook for others or even someone just cooking for themselves , we tend to overcomplicate things. I see so many people getting caught up in over thinking about what to make that cooking, then of course becomes stressful!

I love taking simple ingredients and using 1 key ingredient to really make it pop, not only is it  delicious but it’s something people will ask or talk about, and that’s always been my main focus – to get people creating a conversation around food!

Today I’m taking simple beat greens, something people usually throw away or juice, and pairing them with roasted grapes! A simple fruit, many wouldn’t think to roast however the whole dish comes together in less the 20 Minutes!

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Within the botanical family, beet greens are nestled in alongside spinach, Swiss chard, quinoa, and a number of other wild plants, so we can technically place beet greens in “dark, leafy” category. Having this dark colour gives them a host of beneficial properties! Beet greens have a higher iron content than spinach, and a higher nutritional value than the beetroot itself. The vitamin A content in beet greens helps strengthen the immune system and stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells. The beta-carotene in vitamin A is a known antioxidant that can fight the effects of free radicals in the body along with cancer and heart disease. Finally, the Vitamin K levels works with calcium to boost bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.

It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating the same vegetables and the same greens, but adding in some rotation means we allow a new host of vital vitamins and minerals! Which truthfully is what most people are lacking from their diet!

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SAUTÉED BEET GREEN WITH ROASTED GRAPES
Yields 4 Servings
{Vegan, Paleo}

INGREDIENTS
½ cup red grape
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, depending on their length
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili flakes
2 bunches of beet green, I used 1 bunch red and one bunch yellow
fat pinch of salt
zest of ½ lemon
1 Tbsp hemp seeds

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line sheet pan or small baking dish with parchment. I used a square cake pan.
  2. Thread the grapes onto the rosemary stems until they are full and lay on the line pan, no need for oil here. Continue until all grapes are threaded on the rosemary sprigs.
  3. Roast the grapes for 15 minutes. Then set aside.
  4. In the mean time, make sure your beet greens are cleaned and dry and remove the leaves from the stems.
  5. Roughly chop the stems and the leaves, keeping them separate.
  6. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. Once fragrant add the beet stems and allow them to cook for 5-6 minutes until tender. (We cook these at different stages, because the stems take longer to cook then the leaves.)
  7. Then add the chopped beet leaves, salt and the lemon zest. Once the leaves are wilted, remove from the pan onto a large platter. Pull the grapes off the rosemary stems and scatter over the cooked greens and top with the hemp seeds.

This could easily be a weeknight quickie side dish and a fun way to get some nutritionally packed greens into your diet.

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Happy Monday Everyone

~ Chef Steph

 

Thai Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Hi Guys!

How is everyone’s week going?! Honestly, this week is going much too slowly for me. I’m waiting on some news/call back so I’ve been pretty anxious and restless! I’m currently in the awkward stage of – do I need a drink, or should I go for a run to let out my anxiety. Since I chose to be responsible today I went with neither and decided to right this blog ha!

I’m just popping in today has I have plenty of work to finish up, but this recipe was so easy and delish that I wanted to spread some mid week cheer. SPEAKING of easy…..did you guys watch the bachelor this week? I had to PVR it, so I just watched it. You guys, here is what I know – I used to feel sorry Nick, really I did. However if you honestly choose women like Corrine, I no longer feel sorry as you clearly make poor choices. Mind you, sometimes I wish I could have a nanny at 29 – so I guess, good for her???

Someone remind me why I watch this show?

Bah, back to food! Ok so as per one of my more recent posts, Meatball Masala, you guys know I have a thing for combining flavours and cultural dishes! I find it such an incredible way to bring so much flavour to a simple dish. Anytime I go out to a restaurant, I usually look for unique flavours first or flavours/combinations I haven’t tried. Those are usually the items that excite me the most, and then figuring out how to recreate them at home. That’s when I get all chef crazy, I’ve been told I tend to over analyze menus and get too vocal about them, so I’ve learned to keep it to myself now.

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Now, I wouldn’t say I don’t eat pasta because I’m Italian and hell, if I want pasta I will eat it. However, 90% of the time I want vegetables to be the star of my plate. So I swapped out the grain in today’s recipe and went for spaghetti squash!

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A reason I like to reach for squash is because of it’s blood sugar regulating properties. Now, it’s important to note that blood sugar regulation is closely tied to our overall supply of B-complex vitamins, and that squash provides five B-complex vitamins! Those vitamins are B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. The unique mix of carotenoid, vitamin C and manganese makes them a super vegetable in my books, being anti- inflammatory, yet another factor that tends to have a nagging effects on blood sugar regulation. I believe by pulling in vegetables like this, we are increasing our intake of superfoods without needing fancy powders all the time. It’s about the quality and method of preparation!

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So today’s crazy simple recipe will give you a superfood boost while being epically delicious!

THAI PESTO SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Yields 4 servings
{Paleo, Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
1 spaghetti Squash
For the Pesto
1 fresh Thai chili, rough chopped
¾ cup (9g) loosely packed mint leaves
½ cup(6g) loosely packed basil leaves
1 cup loosely (12g) packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ – 1/3 cup olive oil
Topping
Addition sliced fresh chili
Micro Sprouts

METHOD

  1. For the Squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet plan with parchment.
  2. Slice the squash down the center vertically and scoop out the seeds – do NOT through the seeds away. See the notes below for baking!
  3. Place both halves of the squash flesh side down on the parchment paper and roast for 25 – 30 minutes. You want it to just be fork tender so it has some texture and it’s not mushy.
  4. For the Pesto: While your squash is cooking, you can make your pesto. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the oil. Process on high speeds and then start to stream in the oil. This should yield a thick pesto. Set aside, until ready to assemble.
  5. Once the squash is done, carefully using a fork, pull away the insides, creating the thin squash noodles. You don’t want to let the squash cool too much, because the warm noodles will allow the pesto to really melt in and coat them nicely.
  6. Place your noodles in a bowl and add the batch of pesto, carefully fold the ingredients together until it’s all combined.
  7. Serve, topped with fresh chili and micro sprouts!

    NOTES:

  • If you don’t like heat, remove the seeds from the chili
  • For the squash seeds (pumpkin seeds), rinse them thoroughly, leaving all the stringy bits behind. Dry with a paper towel and toss in a little olive oil and salt. Roast for 6-8 minutes at 400, shaking the pan every few minutes to get even colour! Voila! So easy.

I hope you guys love this combination as much as I did!

Have a good rest of the week, I’ll be back beginning of next week with a super easy side dish to use up those beet greens, they are NOT just for juicing you know!

~Chef Steph

 

 

 

 

Soaked Chai Oats: A Warming Breakfast

Good Morning Guys!

I wanted to send out some good weekend vibes to you all, considering that last week was crazy busy for me with a few really exciting work opportunities and projects coming up to keep my creative mind working to develop some really delicious menus and recipes!

In order for me to get everything done in a day, how I start my day is really important. Routine is really crucial to me, so when it comes to diet and exercise I make sure to stay on top of what keeps me thriving so I can tackle each day.

In the past few weeks I’ve been plating around with my diet, adding some food items back in and taking a much more “stress free/no rules” approach. Personally, I’ve been Gluten free for 10 years and then paleo for the last 2 years. However, once in a while depending on how I’m feeling I’ll happily eat sourdough bread or use spelt grains/flour, both of which I’ve never had a problem with. I follow an 80/20 approach however recently I’ve been bringing back some extra “non paleo” foods. Everyone functions differently and everyone’s situation is different and for me I’ve noticed that with my hectic routine adding some extra carbs in has been really beneficial with helping me manage stress, to my recovery from training and helping to balance my hormones. Also it helps me remember to not get caught up in labels, and allow food freedom based off what foods really feel good to me from an intuitive approach.

I find that I’m usually being pulled in two different directions, the chef and the nutritionist – when really I’m working to pull the two together and not have them divided. Yet I find, in the nutrition realm, many of us Nutritionist have to explain why we choose to eat certain foods, or follow certain diets: eat higher fat, eat wheat, eat white carbs, eat plant based or go out for a burger. Here is my stance: eat what you want, when you want as long as it makes you happy and feel good! So if I want to eat oatmeal, I really don’t owe social media an explanation!

Speaking of which, lets chat about oats! I used to love oatmeal for breakfast, however for a while they didn’t always sit well with me and left me ravenous 2 hours after I’d eat them! So I’ve been playing around with soaking and fermenting grains the past couple of months and seeing how they would effect digestion or nutrition.

What I’ve noticed is that soaking rolled oats, not quick oats, with lemon juice for 12 hours there is a drastic reduction in starch and phytic acid. They become much easier to digest, they take half the time to cook and they dont have a crazy effect on my hunger levels or metabolism! So it’s a winning trick in my books and a good one for those days I need a little extra carbs or I just want a warming bowl of oats especially in the winter months!

Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of a nicely plated serving of Chia Farro Porridge, a dish we teach in the Fundamentals of Plant Based Cooking from the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, Online. I pick a few dishes a weeks to plate, to show the student other variations and unconventional versions of plating. I loved the flavour of the chia base we made, so I wanted to simplify it slightly and use the soaked oats to create a really hearty breakfast that would stimulate the digestive system as well.

NOTES:

  • These look like a lot of ingredients and steps BUT I assure you this is really simple and  I’ve just sectioned the ingredients so there was no discrepancies with following the recipe!
  • I’ve chosen to top it with ghee, because if you’ve never had ghee with your oats you are missing out! However ghee paired with the chai flavours a really lovely combination and is also a really comforting fat for digestion!

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CHAI SPICED SOAKED OATS
Yields 1 portion
{Gluten free, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
Soaked Oats
1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Chai Almond Milk Base
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tea bag (black tea)
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch coriander
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch of Himalayan salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional or 1 packet of stevia)

Cooking
Soaked Oats
Chai Milk Base
½ Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp almond milk

Topping
1 Tbsp ghee
orange zest
½ tsp Black sesame seeds
2 tsp Dried currants
1 tsp Cacao nibs

METHOD

  1. The night before making these oats, add the rolled oats, water and lemon juice to a small bowl. Stir together and leave on the counter over night undisturbed.
  2. In the morning when you are ready to cook, if there is residual water in the bowl, strain and rinse the oats. They will be very soft so handle gently. Then set aside until needed.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add all the Chai Milk Base ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer with the lid on to steep the tea bag for 3 minutes. The squeeze out the tea bag and discard,
  4. Add the rinsed soaked oats and bring back to a simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes, then add the ground flax and stir in the 2 Tbsp of almond milk. The flax will make the oats quite thick so the additional almond milk helps to loosen it. Stir together for 1 minute, then pour into a bowl immediately.
  5. Top with ghee, a few strokes of the orange zest, black sesame seeds, dried currants and cacao nibs and enjoy!

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Happy Sunday Guys

Chef Steph

Meatball Masala: An Inspired Post and Recipe

Happy Monday Guys!

Well with this gloomy weather we are having, I figured the easiest way I could warm up your Monday was with a super kick ass recipe!

Speaking of this weather, it’s January but with this rain, fog, misty weather it feels more like April – which I AM complaining about because my hair hates it and it’s confusing my current wardrobe! Luckily, this recipe will keep your core warm because if you’re like me, despite all the layers (in rain or snow) I literally shiver like it’s my job.

Today’s recipe combines two of my favourite cuisines: Italian (obviously, my roots yo!) and Indian. I have always liked Indian food, however it wasn’t until my studies in New York, that I fell in love with the food, the preparation and the flavours. This recipe is dedicated and inspired by one of my culinary teachers and mentors, Chef Richard La Marita, who has a very impressive culinary history. He not only is a master at Italian Cuisine but after working in India he became very fluent with these flavours. It was such a joy learning from him and watching the way he would combine flavours to create really beautiful dishes. In one of our Ayurveda Cook Tech classes, he put a Sicilian flare on Ayurvedic dishes and methods which I thought was totally genius! That class always struck a cord with me, and even to this day, whenever I eat Indian food I always think of ways to collaborate these flavours into other dishes.

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This Meatball Masala is a perfect make ahead recipe, as it reheats really well so you have something nourishing, flavourful, and hearty to enjoy throughout the week which makes your meal prep so much easier. You can serve this with steamed vegetable or a grain of your choice – I personally love a little basmati and steamed green beans with this dish! (Two other things, easy enough to meal prep in large batches). There is no searing in this recipe, so it comes together really quick : form meatballs, cook sauce and toss meatballs in – PRESTO!

MEATBALL MASALA
{Paleo}
Yields: 31 mini meat balls, 8 – 10 Portions

INGREDIENTS
For the Meatballs
2lbs ground beef
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup almond flour
For the Sauce
1 lb 5 oz Eggplant (1 large or 2 small), medium diced and salted **(SEE notes below)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
6 Cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried chili flakes
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
¼ cup minced fresh basil
2 tsp sea salt
1 can tomato paste
1 x28oz can whole tomatoes
1 can coconut milk, full fat
Oregano leaves for topping

*NOTES:
For the salted eggplant: we do this to draw out excess moisture and bitterness. Take the diced eggplant and scatter 1 tsp of salt over top and toss together. Let sit for 15 minutes over a colander. Then use all your days’ stress, and squeeze the water out of the eggplant dices – then you are ready to use!

METHOD

  1. For the Meatballs: Gently mix all the meatball ingredients together, then roll into 31 mini balls – just smaller then a golf ball. Then wrap/cover and place in the fridge until ready to use while you make your sauce.
  2. For the Sauce: You will need a large deep sauté pan (5L), IF your pan is not deep enough, then use a pot for this recipe. Otherwise everything will bubble over after you add in the meatballs.
  3. Bring the pan up to low medium heat and add the olive oil, onions, garlic, spices, herbs and salt, then sweat together until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the squeezed eggplant and tomato paste, using a wooden spoon here, stir everything together and cook for another 5 minutes on low medium heat.
  5. Then add the whole tomatoes and their juices, along with the coconut milk. Using your wooden spoon, roughly break up the tomatoes as you stir through. Add the meatballs, then cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
  6. Then remove lid and simmer uncovered for a final 15 minutes.
  7. Serving size: I recommend 3 meatballs per ½ cup sauce, over your favourite steamed veg or if you wish, grain of choice.

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I hope you enjoy this recipe guys, it’s such a favourite of mine!

Have a good Monday, I’ll be back later this week with an oatmeal recipe and sharing my tips, on how I eat this grain and the preparation steps I take to ensure easy digestion

Chef Steph

A Year Of Me

This post is getting real; revealing some truths that some of you may not know, my personal revelation regarding 2017 and some new things I’m putting into out into the universe to accomplish this year!

I find every year social media gets crazy in December with people reflecting on their year, what they’ve learned about themselves, their accomplishments and what they want for the new year ahead. This year was the first year I decided not to share anything, I also decided I wouldn’t set goals for 2017 that didn’t feel 100% true to myself and I also didn’t want to reflect on 2016 (at the time.)

However, after last week’s unfortunate health episode, I had too much time to think, process and understand what I did actually want for 2017 and needing to let go of 2016.

Many people on social media are too quick to discuss and flash only the good, making themselves seem invincible and like they have it together all the time. However, it’s not their fault, that’s just the way social media is designed. It’s designed for selling, capturing, telling the good, the glam, the pretty, the “gains” etc. As someone in the health industry, there is also this expectation of us to eat a certain way, post a certain way and to always seem to have it together.

However, what I truly believe is if you preach authenticity then you should also live it because even us health professionals go through slumps in life and health.

Needless to say, 2016 was the biggest wake up call I could have received. It was a year that really didn’t bring me much happiness, excitement or fulfillment. I did too many things that made me unhappy because I felt like I “had too”, drowned myself in work for a job that really made me miserable now that I look back. I was sick all the time, my hormones fell apart from stress, I got pneumonia, didn’t enjoy enough life experiences and frankly didn’t enjoy my life at all. Pretty negative right?

My best memory of 2016, was going to Italy, led by an amazing chef and incredible yoga instructor that really helped me awaken my internal energy and say WHAT THE F*** AM I DOING??? I spent all my time dwelling, obsessing and hustling for a company that really didn’t show the respect or appreciation back until I reached my breaking point of just being done. It wasn’t until I left that everything started to become clear, however the stress still pained away because I was so angry. I let stress literally take over my life and wellbeing, I didn’t even know who I was anymore other then this unmotivated person which was totally not me.

Last week I was waking up in a hospital room, after a horrific health experience (I’m going to stop there) and everything hit me like a tone of bricks. All of sudden I knew what I wanted 2017 to be for me, I was willing to let go of 2016 and everything that came with it, and I was really ready for change.

What I learned from 2016:

  • I didn’t take enough time for self care
  • I stopped doing what I loved, my one life long passion of cooking became so disconnected
  • I didn’t really live
  • I stopped listening to my gut
  • I didn’t take the time to engage in my other passions
  • I lost my spiritual connection
  • I didn’t ever really put myself first

This post is for those of you who may have found yourself in a similar situation or feelings as I did, for those of you that are not afraid of change, and for those of you who are ready to invest in yourself more. Maybe you’re not ready to share it out load, but you’re ready to internally recognize it. I no longer dwell on the shit that came with 2016 but thank it, I thank it because it’s fuelled my fire to do beyond great things and make 2017 one hell of a bass ass year.

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My 2017 goal is to have A Year Of Me so let me break down what this means for “me”:

  • Travel more, not just for work but for fun
  • Read more, if I can read 10 whole books I will literally be a ninja (AND not just health books or cookbooks.)
  • Restore my health to the fullest and achieve an optimal state of living
  • Understand and practice mediation
  • Learn and develop new skills: in any area I choose
  • Get over my handstand fear
  • Say yes to things and opportunities that truly only bring me joy and not out of obligation
  • Be more fearless
  • Finish my business plan

Whatever your goals are for 2017, make sure they truly allow you to thrive and make sure you do take some time to embrace YOU just a little more. Use bad memories, experiences or situations to propel you forward and unleash a side of you, you didn’t think existed.

You’ll be seeing this hashtag on all my social media posts, #ayearofme and I encourage you to chime in, use it and share what you’re experiencing and what you’re doing for yourself: whether it’s sleeping in on a Saturday or going to India – it’s worth embracing!

You know that saying, “You do you girl”…. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing!

Chef Steph

 

 

 

{TASTY TUESDAY} Honey Roasted Carrots

Good Morning Guys!

A Happy New Year is in order here! Firstly before you say anything – yes this recipe was supposed to be up before the Holidays but I’m not even going to sugar coat this: I ran out of time! Between teaching at a high school, helping out my online students before the break and getting my holiday baking done, I feel like all of sudden it was January 2nd! Also I really wanted a break from thinking over the holidays – I think it’s important that we just turn off the work brain and be present when it comes to spending time people you love!

Regardless of the timing, the recipe shared today can be made any time of the year really, and actually any night of week. It’s simple enough for a Wednesday night dinner but also nice enough for a Friday night dinner party with friends.

I’ve always loved roasted veggies, but I find we can get so stuck in the basics: sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers – forgetting about how many other produce items we have available. I’m a huge believer in “bringing plants forward” on the plate – meaning our side should really become our mains. Too many people under utilize their vegetables and don’t take into the consideration that our micronutrients are just as valuable as our macronutrients. That’s why I love today’s recipe – a simple way to jazz up some carrots and give them more life on your table.

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Speaking of Micronutrients: Carrots are packed with an array of nutrient supportive compounds that have such great benefits on our overall health. They are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds and one of the richest vegetable sources of the pro-vitamin A carotenoids. In a one cup serving of carrots, we are achieving a 680% of the daily value of our Vitmain A – that’s amazing! This has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, promote skin and eye health and liver health/longevity!

Now before I get to the recipes, let me leave you with this: Whether you are a “resolution-er” (as I call it) or not, here is one simple thing we can do in 2017. Simply put, we can all do better. This can be in regards to our exercise routing, to our food choices, our skin care, our self love, our sleep, our time spent with others – we can call make a mental note, to just do better. We only have one body, and it’s our right to treat it as well as we can and give it the love it needs. So rather then a resolution, why not just make small shifts to constantly strive to do better for ourselves.

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HONEY ROASTED CARROTS
Yields 8- 10 servings
{Paleo/Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
Heirloom carrots (regular carrots can be used) 1 ½ lbs, peeled (see note below)
2 Tbsp honey
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup, chopped roasted almonds

METHOD

  1. Pre heat the oven 375 degrees and set a baking sheet aside with no parchment paper.
  2. In a small sauce pan, add the honey, smoked paprika, garlic powder, olive oil and salt. This will loosen the honey and create a warm loose marinade. DO NOT let this boil or even simmer, once the honey had melted and everything can stirred together evenly, remove from heat.
  3. Place the prepared carrots on the baking sheet, pour over the warm marinade and toss to combine, making sure all carrots are covered.
  4. Roasting time will vary depending on whether you are using the thick or thin variety of these carrots, since I used the thick, roast for 15 minutes, give the pan a shake and roast for a final 15 minutes.
  5. When you are ready to serve, top with roasted almonds.

NOTES:

  • If you are using the thin heirloom carrots, they do not need to be peeled as they are so delicate.
  • The thin variety with also take ½ the cooking time so be mindful to watch them.

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Happy New Year Everyone!

Chef Steph

 

{Tasty Tuesday} Paleo Creamed Spinach

 

Question: How many of you are done your Christmas shopping? So every year, I’m that person who gets it done by the first week of December. This year, for a reason I still have yet to come up with, I waited to the week of Christmas. Yesterday I ventured out with a very solid plan and detailed list to get everything done. Well, it took 5 hours of: waiting in copious amounts of lines to either enter a store or to pay, running through and over many people, witnessing people loose their children (LIKE WHAT?!), probably loosing 5 lbs of sweat and parking in essentially a new city. It was hell – but it’s done, and I will never make this mistake again. For those of you who enjoy this rush of last minute shopping, good for you but you are crazy – my type A personality can’t handle it!

Luckily I had prepped this recipe, so I came home to solid meal to help revive my spirit a little. Being Italian, we never really grew up with creamed spinach, unless it was spinach and ricotta stuffed into cannelloni pasta. I recently purchased Jamie Oliver’s new Christmas Book – which is an obviously thing for me to do, since I have every other book of his. As I was browsing, his creamed spinach totally intrigued me. I decided it to give it a go but put a little paleo and dairy free spin on it. I loved the result and would make this again, especially for a family function or Christmas Day lunch. It feels really rich and comforting, which is perfect for this snow filled winter we are having. However, the remixed ingredients keep it satisfying and waste friendly! This is also a great make ahead recipe, it can be prepped and assembled the day before and baked off for dinner which is excellent for party planning or hosting a dinner.

I’ve included an option with cheese which I have made also – they are both greatscreen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm, but IF I had to choose, I like the version with cheese better.

OH! Before I get to the recipe guys – remember there is only 4 MORE DAYS to grab our Holiday Ebook filled with perfect party recipes: apps, desserts and cocktails all given a healthful spin!

The book is still available to purchase for only $9.95,  you can have a look at the link below!

https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

I’m super proud of this one, and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Now, for the recipe!

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Paleo Creamed Spinach
Yields 6 – 8 side servings
{Paleo/Diary Free}
– Inspired by Jamie Oliver

INGREDIENTS
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs fresh spinach
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ whole nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut cream
For the Crumble
2 Tbsp ghee (or coconut oil for vegan option)
¼ cup nutritional yeast (or 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese)
1 cap pecans
1/3 cup almond flour
½ tsp salt (if you use cheese reduce this to 1/8 tsp of salt )

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×11” baking dish with ghee, coconut oil or olive oil.
  2. Using a deep pot (so all the spinach will fit), heat the 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat and add the minced shallots and garlic, once fragrant add the spinach, oregano and then grate the nutmeg right in.
  3. Cook the spinach until wilted, the spinach will release much water- you want to cook it until the water is cooked out. Finish with a pinch of salt and then set aside off heat.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the ghee, nutritional yeast, pecans, almond flour, and ½ tsp salt until it forms a loose crumble. Then set aside in a separate bowl.
  5. No need to wash the food processor, add all the spinach and the ½ cup coconut cream and pulse together until combined. Don’t turn this into a puree, just pulse a few times to replicate chopped spinach,
  6. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with your crumble. You can either live an edge of the spinach as shown in the picture, or cover the entire top with the crumble.
  7. Place into your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. This is delicious both right from the oven and cold.

Note: This makes an amazing addition crumbled into a breakfast frittata, so leftovers are a definite plus in this case!

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I hope you guys enjoy this one, countdown to Christmas is one everyone!

-Chef Steph

{Tasty Thursday} Holiday Ebook + Perfect Winter Brussels

Ah Thursday already! I actually cant believe this week is already almost over, however it’s been a really cool week with some fun new projects starting that I’m excited to chat about here today. I obviously have a delicious recipe in this post but I wanted to share some fun things first!

Over the past month I’ve been working on the first (of many) ebooks with a fellow lady boss friend of mine, Elle Daftarian. Food That Feels Good: Holiday Edition. In this book we are sharing our favourite entertaining recipes: Apps, Drinks and even Cocktails that will spare you the holiday bloat and the waistline worries! All the recipes are gluten free, paleo and we have some vegan/raw options!screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-5-27-49-pm

Available for a limited time, click here to purchase our holiday ebook! I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you all!

LINK: https://steph-elle.squarespace.com

On another fun note: this has been my first week teaching at Aldershot High School – I’m teaching a 6 part culinary series for their Grade 12 fitness class. This week we’ve been focusing on knife skills, which has been really fun actually, the students were really into it which I loved because I could tell they were really invested in learning some new skills. I think all high schools really need to invest in a program like this, basic cooking knowledge is so crucial for teenagers to know!

 

Now for the recipe!

Brussels are a hard vegetable for some people to like, me on the other hand, I could eat them like popcorn. Sure, I mean if you just steam them – well they obviously suck. So it really comes down to how you prepare them. I fully believe you can get anyone, at any age to enjoy ANY vegetable you just need a good arsenal of recipes to jazz them up.

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These vegetables may be small in size BUT they are not small when it’s come to nutritional value. Plant phytonutrients found in Brussels sprouts enhance the activity of the body’s natural defense system to protect against disease, including cancer. Sulforaphane, is a compound the body created from the phytonutrient, glucoraphanin, found in all Brassica vegetables, and it’s known to boost the body’s detoxification enzymes which help to clear carcinogenic substances more quickly. As well Brussels have high levels of vitamin C, which supports immune function and proper collagen formation: the basis for our body’s structures – including skin, connective tissues, cartilage and tendons.

I wasn’t kidding when I said these little guys pack a punch!

I try to rotate them into my diet every two weeks or so, usually roasted or sautéed. Today’s recipe, will really jazz them up and make them an amazing side dish especially over the holiday season!

I encourage you to make these and test them on your picky eaters.

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Roasted Brussels with Balsamic and Pomegranates
Yields: 4 servings
{Paleo/Vegan}

INGREDIENTS
2lbs Brussels, cleaned and halved
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
3 sprigs of thyme, picked and minced
1 sprig rosemary, picked and minced
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbsp Balsamic reduction*
½ pomegranate, seeds removed

NOTE*: you can either use store bought reduction or make your own, I’ve supplied the method below.

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. For the reduction: If you choose to make your own reduction, place ½ cup of balsamic in a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil and turn the heat down to a simmer, let simmer until reduced by half.
3. Then remove from the heat and set aside until needed. Any remaining can be stored in the fridge for future use.
4. In a large bowl add the halved Brussels, olive oil, shallots, thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.
5. Toss to combine and scoop onto the prepared baking sheet, in an even layer.
6. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle with 3 Tbsp of balsamic reduction and place back into the oven for 5 – 7 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and scatter with pomegranate seeds to serve and Voila!

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{Merry Monday} Curry Carrot Soup with Smokey Almonds

Happy Monday Guys!

I figured I’d do you a favour and start your week off with a warming recipe because the first legit snow fall came yesterday and I think this snowy weather is here to stay!

Truthfully I’m happy about the weather change, primarily because as it gets colder the food I choose to eat changes along with it. Enter: soups, stews, braised dishes, hot chocolate, hot cider, mulled wine, warming breakfast bowls, spicier dishes, curries and broths. Usually, I’m not a winter person – but this year I’ve had a change a heart, however I should probably find winter boots – like proper winter boots and not another pair I cheap out on.

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As with anything I choose to make, I really try to make sure what I eat packs some sort of nutritional value as well of flavour. I despise eating flavorless food, or when I see people post recipes that after one glance the flavour profile is just not there – it makes me crazy. So even with a simple soup, like the one I’m sharing below, jazzing it up can be both simple, cost effective and fast!

Fun fact about me: As Italian as I am, Indian cuisine is literally one of my absolute favorites. I would love to learn this cuisine from the traditional aspect. I love to use elements of Indian cuisine because in my professional opinion there is something about the specific spice combinations that makes the food so enticing and enjoyable!

What I love about soups is that they are the perfect vessel to pack a dose of nutrition and they can be super digestive friendly. They are in my emergency toolbox, for when my digestive system isn’t co-operating and I know getting in some anti-inflammatory nutrition would be beneficial.

Carrots, don’t usually shine alone and sometimes they should, because they come with their own arsenal of nutrients: There is some research showing that cooking them may actually help to boost their nutritional content, opposed to eating them raw. Interestingly enough (which is helpful for the colder seasons), cooking carrots yields  higher levels of beta-carotene and phenolic acids than raw carrots. They are a true gem when taking about brain health, vision health, cancer prevention, liver health and lower systemic inflammation. Paired with the warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, garlic and curry (all of which help to sooth digestion and low inflammatory responses in the body) make this a truly special mix.

My recipe today is particularly very easy, it can be made any night of the week where by one vegetable is the star, it’s anti inflammatory, digestive friendly, seasonal and very warming!

CARROT CURRY SOUP
Yields: 6 servings
{Paleo}

INGREDIENTS
For the soup:
2 Tbsp ghee
2” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
½ tsp cinnamon
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp red curry powder*
1 tsp ground coriander
2lbs carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
1 ½ tsp salt
3 ½ cups chicken stalk
½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 can coconut milk
For the garnish:
½ cup Almonds
½ tsp chili
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp salt
Olive oil
Chopped Cilantro

METHOD

  1. Start with your garnish, so it’s ready to go and you don’t forget about it when serving: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss Almonds with chili, smoked paprika, salt and a dash of olive oil, and lay out on a baking sheet. Roast for 7 minute and let cool.
  3. Once cool, roughly chop and set aside with your chopped cilantro until ready to use.
  4. For the soup: In a medium pot, add the ghee over medium low heat. Add the minced ginger, cinnamon, sliced garlic, red curry powder and ground coriander. Stir together and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. You really want the spices and ginger/garlic to be quite pungent.
  6. Now add the chopped carrots and stir together. Add salt and chicken stock, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 – 25 minute until carrots are fork tender. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to really release all the flavour.
  7. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in batches, but if you have a vitamix then this will all fit in one shot. Scoop your carrots and broth, into your blender, and blend on high speed until completely smooth.
  8. Make sure some steam has room to escape otherwise your lid will pop off, make a huge mess, and most likely burn you!
  9. Pour your smooth soup back into you pot, add the apple cider vinegar and coconut milk, bring back to a gentle simmer and you are ready to serve.
  10. Serve with the toasted smokey almonds and chopped cilantro.

This is epic guys, enjoy it!

*NOTE – I really like red curry powder for its heat, so if you use regular curry powder add ¼ – ½ tsp cayenne pepper to the soup.

Stay warm guys, and make your Monday a littler better by getting cozy with a  cup of this soup.

-Chef Steph xo

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